Creative design services and graphic design are littered with words you may not be familiar with. Here are just some of the key terms you should know, and a short explanation of the jargon.
Vector-based images (such as those created in Adobe Illustrator) are made up of points, each of which has a defined X and Y coordinate. These points join paths to form shapes, and inside these shapes you can add color. Because everything is generated based around this, vectors can be resized to any size without any loss of quality.
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key. CMYK is the standard color mode for sending documents – be it magazines, newspapers, flyers, brochures, annual reports, and so on to the printers. It stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black).
In Photoshop or Illustrator, you have the option to set your document’s color mode as CMYK, RGB.
RGB on the other hand is Red, Green and Blue.
DPI stands for ‘Dots Per Inch’ and refers to the number of dots per inch on a printed page. Generally, the more dots per inch, the better quality of the image – and 300DPI is the standard for printing images.
PPI refers to ‘Pixels per Inch’ and, as you’d expect, is the number of pixels per inch in your image. If you resize to make an image larger in Photoshop – you will increase the number of pixels per inch (with Photoshop making up the data) and you will lose quality. There’s an excellent explanation here.
The contrast between good type and great type is often what sets brilliant graphic artists and designers apart. And being able to spot a kerning (the space between two characters) error from a distance is somewhat satisfying!
Setting up a grid enables you to get your composition correctly. The best way to describe a grid in graphic design in a series of intersecting vertical and horizontal lines used to organize and structure content. Whether in InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, setting up a grid enables you to get your composition right and balance your type and imagery.
Common grid systems include a large header across the top with equally sized columns beneath – but there’s no real limit on what can be created. One of the best resources to learn this is by reading The Grid System, which provides an excellent resource, including lots of further reading and templates. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Muller-Brockmann is also something that you may want to check out.
Logos are really powerful graphic tools, but they’re a just part of the branding process. Logos can make or break your campaign – a great logo works as an instant reminder of a company or product. And, for designers, they represent the challenge of distilling a client’s essence into a single work of art. The best logos can live for a long time, and revising or creating new logo design can sometimes cause confusion, since the familiar is replaced by something new.